Essay on John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government

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Locke's The Second Treatise of Civil Government: The Significance of Reason

     The significance of reason is discussed both in John Locke's, The Second
Treatise of Civil Government, and in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's, Emile. However, the definitions that both authors give to the word “reason” vary significantly.
I will now attempt to compare the different meanings that each man considered to be the accurate definition of reason.
     John Locke believed that the state “all men are naturally in ... is a state of perfect freedom” (122), a state in which they live “without ... depending upon the will of any other man” (122). It is called the “the state of nature,” and it is something that is
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Reason is not flexible because it is God's law and it is set in stone.
This reason gives you the social contract, leading to life, liberty, and happiness. To Locke, it is crucial for men to enter into the social contract as soon as possible. Since we are born into the state of nature in which the law of reason governs us, it is easy for us to enter into society when we are young.
This is because that very society is based on reason, not upon feelings or intuition. When men leave their state of nature and conform to society and the government, they give up their right to punish others, as they see fit. Instead, the social contract exists to protect people from those who transgress by inflicting due punishment to offenders through the force of the government.
Since every person mutually agrees to live amongst the rules of the contract, it protects the good of the majority. The government thus works to benefit the good of the people.
     The best kinds of government, Locke believed, are absolute monarchies, because they don't take their citizens out of the state of nature. Societies, in fact, are in a form of the state of nature, themselves, so people don't have to give up their “rights” to reason by entering into the social contract.
Reason still exists where conformity flourishes. It doesn't diminish but is actually enhanced by the merging of natural law (fundamental law) and positive law (the law of the majority of others).
John Locke
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